Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
Blood Diner is wonderfully disgusting and hilariously absurd. Directed by Jackie Kong and written by Michael Sonye, this 1987 film is an explosion of exploitation and the elements that give cult films their immortality. Blood Diner is a film that asks you to leave your sensibilities and brains at the door, but get your popcorn and friends because you will have a great time watching every minute.
Blood Diner is a film that plays with tone and effects. The film begins with two boys left home alone when terror strikes. Someone is watching them and begins to hack at the door. A crazed man bursts in and the boys squeal with delight instead of shrinking in fear.
Uncle Anwar is home and they are so happy to see him. He reminds them to be good and to follow his teachings. He then proceeds to get gunned down by the police. It’s weird, but it’s engaging. Flash forward and those boys now run a diner and are digging up Anwar’s brain so they can resurrect the goddess Sheetar.
The main characters are Michael and George Tutman, two brothers who just want to make their uncle proud by resurrecting an evil goddess. They run a diner where they serve human remains and punch any customers who complain about anything. Somehow the customers keep returning for what they believe is healthy junk food.
In my best Stefon from Saturday Night Live voice, this film has everything. There are so many insane visuals juxtaposed with some horrific violence. A lot of films from decades past seem to have an expiration date on what today’s audiences can handle. Gratuitous rape, exploitative nudity, racism, and outdated terms can make us cringe or turn off channel. This film has such a light tone and is so silly that even the most grim images are part of something so off the wall that the film manages to still be enjoyable while maintaining its shock value.
Personally, I find mass shooting depictions incredibly hard to watch, especially in this day and age. Somehow a mass shooting scene in this film does not feel like a punch in the gut, but that might be because it’s during a naked aerobics side plot. There is a man eating torso, gratuitous vomiting, a battered fried head, there is nothing missing from this film.
From rapey police officers, to eyeballs that fall out in a cartoonish manner, Kong’s direction and style amp up the madness of the film while delivering a timeless charm. Order some really greasy food, take off your top, and watch Blood Diner. It’s the only way to watch it.
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